Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies

Synopsis

Parliamentary democracy is the most common way of organizing delegation and accountability in contemporary democracies. Yet knowledge of this type of regime has been incomplete and often unsystematic. Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies offers new conceptual clarity onthe topic. Taking principal-agent theory as its framework, the work illustrates how a variety of apparently unrelated representation issues can now be understood. This procedure allows scholarship to move well beyond what have previously been cloudy and confusing debates aimed at defining the virtues andperils of parliamentarism. This new empirical investigation includes all seventeen West European parliamentary democracies. These countries are compared in a series of cross-national tables and figures, and seventeen country chapters provide a wealth of information on four discrete stages in thedelegation process: delegation from voters to parliamentary representatives, delegation from parliament to the prime minister and cabinet, delegation within the cabinet, and delegation from cabinet ministers to civil servants. Each chapter illustrates how political parties serve as bondinginstruments which align incentives and permit citizen control of the policy process. This is complemented by a consideration of external constraints, such as courts, central banks, corporatism, and the European Union, which can impinge on national-level democratic delegation. The concludingchapters go on to consider how well the problems of delegation and accountability are solved in these countries. Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies provides an unprecedented guide to contemporary European parliamentary democracies. As democratic governance is transformed at the dawn of the twenty-first century, it illustrates the important challenges faced by the parliamentarydemocracies of Western Europe.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Arthur Lupia
  • Kaare Strøm
  • Wolfgang C. Müller
  • Erik Damgaard
  • Jean-Louis Thiébault
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford, England
Publication year:
  • 2003